What can you do if a horse is abandoned on your land or your horse escapes from the field onto someone else's land?

The law  that deals with what can be done when a horse is abandoned on land  is “The Control of Horses Act 2015”; this act came into force on 26 May 2015 and applies in England (there is similar legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland and in place in Wales). 

The act has consolidated several different laws that were quite complex and unfortunately had loopholes that were exploited by less than honest horse owners. The act does have safeguards in place to protect responsible horse owners.

The  act allows land owners to remove a horse left on their land to a safe place immediately. Police and the owners of the horses must be notified by the land owner within 24 hours of the horse being removed. It is really important that horse owners ensure that their horse can be identified e.g. via their freezemark and/or microchip. Horse owners should also make sure that their details are as up to date as possible with the passport issuing organisation so that contacting them is as easy as possible.

If no one claims ownership of the horse in 4 working days the land owner can then decide what to do with the horse (this includes selling the horse). If a horse owner realises their horse is missing they should contact their local police (using the non emergency number) so that they can be reunited with their horse as soon as possible.